With Tuesday’s trade for Chase Claypool, Ryan Poles gave his first actual indication the team is looking to build around Justin Fields.
Claypool doesn’t have a single 1,000-yard season and is currently struggling with an average of 9.7 yards per reception, but failures in Pittsburgh may not carry over to Chicago. Claypool will be best used as a downfield target at 6’4” with low-4.4 speed, but the Steelers, with Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett, have struggled throwing deep. That’s an area in which Fields excels. Claypool also entered the league known for devastating blocks and, at nearly 240 pounds, should be an asset in the running game.
The move is about more than the player, it’s about the vision of the team. It’s clear that Poles wasn’t sold on Fields until the last month. This move is a strong indication that now he is ready to push the pedal to the floor and build an offense around the quarterback that is already on the roster, not sure prospect currently in the college ranks.
Ultimately, Poles will be defined by the players he brings to the Chicago Bears, not the players he lets go. Claypool has a chance to be a very good player for a long time.
Roquan Trade Leaves Huge Hole
While focus regarding the Smith trade has been on his contract and the second-round pick received, the Bears created another problem: they have to replace him.
Linebackers have always been crucial to the success of this defensive scheme. Perhaps off-ball linebackers aren’t important in some schemes, but it is for the Bears and, suddenly, they need to find not one, but two high level linebackers.
And that’s not all.
As was apparent last Sunday, the Bears very likely will need a complete overhaul of their front seven. They’ll need blue chip players at defensive end, defensive tackle and linebacker, along with solid starters elsewhere. While fans have been mocking wide receivers to the team – a projection that certainly seems unlikely after the Claypool trade – the Bears are much more likely to look defense early in the 2023 draft.
Why Hasn’t Riley Reiff Been Playing?
If there is one gripe about the new coaching staff, it’s that they don’t always seem to want to play the best players.
Sunday was pretty easily the best game the Bears have gotten from an offensive tackle and that’s because Reiff was filling in for Larry Borom. They slowed down a really good pass rush and helped the offense put up 29 points against a top-five defense.
Borom will probably has a long career as a swing tackle, but the Bears need to put Fields in the best position to succeed. Reiff should be getting more snaps.